The regular 2023 municipal election to elect City Councilors for City Council Districts 2, 4, 6, and 8 will be held on November 7, 2023 along with $200 Million in bonds to be approved by city voters. The November 7 municipal election could shift city council majority control from the current 5 Democrats to a Republican control or perhaps a conservative shift to challenge Mayor Keller’s progressive agenda.
City Council District 6 is commonly referred to as the Nob Hill and International District in the South East Heights. District 6 encompasses the International District, Mesa Del Sol, Nob Hill, Southeast Heights, and the University of New Mexico. The district is considered the most progressive district in the city. District 6 is currently represented by two term Progressive Democrat Pat Davis who decided not to run for a third term. There are 4 candidates running for city council in District 6 and all 4 are considered Progressive Democrats.
The candidates who have been verified by the city clerk to be on the ballot for City Council District 6 and how their campaigns are being finance are:
- Abel Otero,Democrat: Owner and operator of Fonzy’s barbershop. (Qualified for $40,000.00 public financing.)
- Kristin Greene,Democrat: Tattoo artist and Burlesque dancer. (Qualified for $40,000.00 public financing.)
- Nichole Rogers,Democrat: Office manager and independent contractor for Primerica Financial Services. (Qualified for $40,000.00 public financing.)
- Jeff Hoehn,Democrat: Executive director of Cuidando Los Niños. (Privately financed candidate.)
GUEST OPINION COLUMN
City Council candidate Jeff Hoehn submitted the following guest column to be published on www.PeteDinelli.com.
EDITOR’S DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed in this guest column written by Jeff Hoehn are those of Mr. Hoehn and do not necessarily reflect those of the www.petedinelli.com blog. Mr. Hoehn has not paid for and has not been paid any compensation to publish the guest column and he has given his consent to publish on www.PeteDinelli.com as a public service announcement.
“We all love Albuquerque. We are all choosing to live here.
I am Jeff Hoehn, and I am running for City Council for District 6. I have lived in District 6 for over 20 years. I am Executive Director of Cuidando Los Niños, a nonprofit working to end homelessness, and I am President of the Nob Hill Neighborhood Association Board of Directors. My commitment to Albuquerque and to District 6 are proven in my work and volunteering.
District 6 is a large and diverse district stretching from Eubank to the east, I-25 to the west, Lomas to the north and Gibson to the south as well as Mesa del Sol. It holds so much potential, yet it bears a significant share of the problems that are holding our city back. The time for effective and genuine progressive leadership is now, for District 6 and for Albuquerque.
We find ourselves at a crossroads with respect to the future of our city. Albuquerque has so much opportunity and promise, but it is not being realized. More than five years ago, we entrusted the future of our city to our Mayor, Tim Keller. We trusted him to lead, and to make a real difference on major issues including homelessness and crime. This is why we elected him. The Mayor has had more than enough time to effect the change that we all voted for. I do agree with many of the mayor’s policies, and I too am a Democrat. But I am independent of the party line, and I am independent of the Mayor. I hold deeply to the values of the Democratic party but question the strategies this administration has developed. A City Councilor must put people first, offering practical and realistic approaches that are achievable rather than seeking political gain.
Now that Pat Davis has decided not to run for another term, we have a unique opportunity to vote for leadership and to effect change. My love for this city has motivated me to run for office for the first time. My background, experience and leadership qualities set me apart from every other candidate in this race.
The son of a union construction worker, I worked my way through college as a student at UNM. I worked in kitchens to support myself, working my way up from dishwasher to prep cook, line cook and then kitchen manager and chef. Inspired to a career change after starting a family with my wife Charlotte, I once again worked my way through school, working full time at a nonprofit, while earning a Master of Public Administration. This degree has given me a broad base of knowledge about public policy, leadership, budgeting and much more.
I have put these skills to work for the betterment of our community, first as Executive Director of the Carrie Tingley Hospital Foundation, and for the past five years, as Executive Director of Cuidando los Niños. Cuidando is a pillar of our community of which we can all be proud. It is a five star preschool and day shelter for families experiencing homelessness. For the past five years, I have seen the struggle and heartbreak these families endure, living on the edge of homelessness. But I have also seen the way that compassionate assistance and support can change lives. Cuidando now has a diversity of programs and assistance available to the families it serves, from housing assistance to a food program to transportation for the kids.
In fact, Cuidando has grown exponentially under my leadership. The budget has gone from $800,000 to $3,750,000 per year. We have grown the number of staff from 16 to almost 40, and increased pay and benefits for all employees. The number of homeless families served went from 40 a year to 225 a year. That is real community impact. This is all to say that I have the needed experience and leadership, and I am prepared for this job on day one.
Having thought about these issues for many years, I have policy positions that I intend to build coalitions around with residents and the City Council.
With respect to homelessness, the Mayor’s legacy is an enormous homeless shelter the neighborhood did not want and that many people experiencing homelessness will not use. As we all know, it has been hugely expensive. It cost $15 million to acquire the site, and another $7 million has been spent getting it up and running. Yet it is not up and running even now. And the ambitions for its scope have been dramatically scaled back, the Mayor having announced that it will serve just 50 women when it opens. In yet another example of the City’s haplessness, we are facing a fine of more than three-quarters of a million dollars for the asbestos debacle. I know that we can do better.
I believe that smaller, population-specific homeless shelters will be much more appealing to those experiencing homelessness. These can offer targeted wraparound services to their populations, and they will place a much lighter burden, if any on neighborhoods. We need to have compassion alongside pragmatism guiding our homelessness policy. We need to put real solutions before politics.
The mayor’s strategy on homelessness seems to stop at housing. Yet more housing alone will not solve homelessness. Our focus must be on preventing homelessness before it begins. For example, a robust eviction prevention program that helps pay rent or a bill will prevent people from becoming homeless for very low cost. The city should also consider compassionate, safe environments for those who choose to sleep outdoors. A successful example of this exists in Las Cruces. We simply can’t be afraid to do what is right, and what has been proven to work elsewhere.
With respect to crime, we must interrupt the cycles of crime and place much more focus on mental health and addiction treatment. We need to target the underlying drivers of crime. As a social scientist by training, I know that this can make an appreciable difference. We also need a functional justice system, and I applaud District Attorney Sam Bregman’s efforts to increase prosecutions and more importantly the efficiency and effectiveness of prosecutions.
It is true that the city needs far more police officers. But we need well trained, dedicated officers who will engage in constitutional policing. We need to get out from under the DOJ consent decree but do so with integrity. Real culture change in APD is still needed. While rebuilding the culture to attract police officers, we must be strategic so that officers are maximizing their time spent preventing and addressing crime. For example, I advocate short-term mobile APD command units in high crime areas. A dedicated team of officers can embed with the community, build trust and make the area unfriendly to criminal activity. I also know that ‘curb and gutter’ improvements in underserved areas of the city – such things as getting street lights working, building parks, adding trees and making sure basic city services are functioning – can have an impact on both crime and economic development. Everyone in our city deserves a clean and safe neighborhood.
We must demand economic development in the International District. This area has been ignored for too long by politician after politician. As City Councilor I will ask every other Councilor to spend time with me in the International District. Then, I will work with City Council on developing a comprehensive plan for the International District that is informed by residents and business owners and not by policy makers from above.
It’s time to put people above politics. This is why I am the change we need on the City Council. Elect a proven leader in November. We can do better. Vote Jeff for District 6.
Visit jeff4d6.com to learn more about me and my specific policy proposals.”
All too often, city council races are ignored by many voters and the campaigns do not really heat up until the very last month or two weeks of the campaign. Most city council races are won with direct voter contact and candidates going “door to door” looking for support and vote. Below is a link to a Dinelli blog article outlining background on issues and questions.